This editorial appeared in The Rock Hill Herald.
A bill that would require South Carolina women to wait a day after viewing an ultrasound before having an abortion might not be an insurmountable hurdle for most women. But the rule would be a considerable obstacle for many and an especially cruel one for rape victims, who would not be exempt.
The bill was approved Tuesday by a House panel. It heads to the House floor for consideration.
If it becomes law, South Carolina would be the first state to require a 24-hour wait between and ultrasound and an abortion, although a number of states have a mandatory waiting period.
"We owe it to the women of this state to give them a 24-hour respite to think about this decision," said Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester, the bill's primary sponsor. "The woman deserves it, and the unborn child deserves it."
Abortion rights advocates don't see it that way. They view the bill as paternalistic and insulting to women, and they have a point.
The state doesn't have to "give" women a 24-hour period to consider whether to have an abortion. They can take a day, a week or a month to make that decision now if they choose, without a mandate from the Legislature.
Requiring women to make two trips to an abortion clinic – and possibly miss two days of work and two days of pay – might not be a burden for some women. But we can envision cases where it could be an extreme hardship for others.
The committee that gave initial approval to this bill rejected an amendment to exempt rape victims from waiting 24 hours. That, we think, is cruel and unnecessary.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Rock Hill Herald.